To mark the passing of Albert Finney, I rewatched SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING (1960) one of the seminal Angry Young Man films about restless working class men pushing against the system. Finney plays a factory worker whose day job simply supports him while he drinks and parties (“What I want is a good time. All the rest is propaganda.”) with married Rachel Roberts and single but harder-to-get Shirley Anne Fields. I’m not a fan of this genre, but this one works for me, with dynamic performances and interesting characters (I’d really like to know how Finney and Fields turned out a decade later). It’s also interesting because it was executive produced by Cubby Broccoli who went on to make the Bond films; as the book License to Thrill says, it’s easy to see the similarity between 007 and Finney’s character here (both want sex and fun, but Bond’s better situated to get it). “I’m me — and whoever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.”
For a roguish but more heroic protagonist, we have Paul Rudd in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (2018), breaking house arrest (for violating the Sokovia Accords in Avengers: Civil War) to help Hank Pym and Hope (Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lily) bring back Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) from the quantum universe. Trouble is, an unsolid assassin called the Ghost wants the tech, and she’s willing to kill to get it. A good film that does a remarkalbe job fitting itself between Civil War and Infinity War, though heavy on product placement (a giant Hello Kitty Pez dispenser was the most egregious) and like the first film, very good on the size changing action scenes. Laurence Fishburne plays Bill Foster (“I worked with Hank on the Goliath project.”). “Your daddy went to Germany and drew on the walls with Captain America.”
I also caught three shorts by Darkstone Entertainment while at Mysticon:
CRYING IN THE RAIN is an engagingly goofy story in which a man reports a murder involving Ghost Vampire Witches to the cops, but his flexibility with details (“Wait, they weren’t having sex, they were trying to kill each other!”) makes them wonder if he’s on the level. “Oh, just so you know, I have mind powers.”
BEYOND THE STRETCH was a less successful post-apocalypse thriller in which a woman slowly realizes the reason a trio of cops have woken her up. It didn’t help that the woman (who turns out to be a bad guy) is way more appealing than the protagonist. “I don’t want a little tot!”
GIVE UP THE GHOST is the second best of the trio, as a group of college students discover staying in a haunted hotel was (spoiler) a major SAPS Rule violation.
#SFWApro. Bottom cover by Jack Kirby; rights to all images remain with current holder.